Membership Card

Can I Use My Membership at Other Co-ops?

If you’ve seen our colorful ads on busses and in magazines around the Upper Valley, you know we’re posing this thought-provoking question:

Not Your Grandpas Co-op

Well hey, we’re just going to come out with it: We think we’re the perfect blend of both—an innovative business building something new, and a storied old business that still sticks to the important roots that brought us here. With that in mind, some of us are so steeped in cooperative culture that we forget others are new to this fabulously world-changing business model. This is a great time to review the basics!

For example, here at the Co-op, and while just being regular old human beings, we often hear questions like, “If I am a member of your co-op, can I use my member number at any co-op?” Or conversely, “Do I have to be a member to shop at your co-op?” The short answer to both of those is “no!” (Well, you can try, but your member number only works at one of OUR co-ops.)

A co-op is a business model, not one giant chain (bear with me for a minute here—the actual definition is a little dry but not terrible and we’ll get through it together!). The definition of a co-op is:

“… a jointly owned enterprise engaging in the production or distribution of goods or the supplying of services, operated by its members for their mutual benefit, typically organized by consumers or farmers.” —definition from

Okay great, so what does that mean to you? It means that we, the Hanover Co-op, are owned by you, our member-owners. We exist for you, our goals and visions are strategically formed by a group of Upper Valley community members just like you that comprises our board. Those visions set the parameters for how we operate our business, from the products we offer, to our charitable giving, to ensuring our employees are fairly compensated and treated well, and everything in-between.

When you join the Hanover Co-op, you are our member only, because you have bought shares that make you an owner of our co-op. So, if you walk into City Market in Burlington and try to use your number, they will probably say, “That’s awesome, we love co-ops too! Unfortunately, you’re not one of our members” (and I suspect they will invite you to join).

You also don’t have to be a member of our co-op to shop with us. Though we’d love to have you join our family, it’s not required, no day pass, just come on in and do your thing, though there are tons (and we mean tons) of benefits to becoming one of our members. Not only do you become part owner in a pretty phenomenal business:

  • you get voting rights for decision-making and electing board members
  • you become eligible to sit on our board (BTW, you should consider joining our board! That’s a conversation for another day though)
  • you are enrolled in our Rewards Program, where you earn things like rewards (imagine that) to redeem on your purchases, special member pricing, entry into monthly drawings, and discounts on cooking classes, just to name a few.

In closing, we thank you, our current member-owners, as well as our future member-owners, and those of you who are neither and are our fans and cheerleaders. All of you are the reason we do what we do, and we love what we do.

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Dawn Archambeault

Dawn is the Director of Marketing & Consumer Relations.

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